6 Practical Tech Gifts to Buy This Holiday Season
As you compile your shopping list for the gifts you plan to buy for your family and friends, sometimes you want to find gifts that will offer some practical value to the recipient. But figuring out the best gifts with practical value can often leave you feeling like your gifts won’t be the most exciting ones waiting for your loved ones under the tree.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to find gifts that are both fun and practical — without spending hours and hours on your holiday shopping. When it comes to practical gifts, there’s nothing better than a gadget that’s going to save the recipient some significant money in their everyday lives. Read on to find six different gadgets that will offer some practical and economical value when you gift them to your loved ones this holiday season.
1. A smart thermostat
A smart thermostat, like one from Nest or Ecobee, can ease off on the heat or the air conditioner while you’re out of the house and can save you money in the long run. You’ll use less energy — which has the convenient side effect of lowering your monthly utility bills — and you’ll also feel better about heating or cooling the house only when you actually need to, instead of leaving everything running at full power while you’re at work or out running errands all day.
2. A laptop computer
If your mom or dad is still using an old, inefficient desktop computer, it might be time to upgrade to a laptop. Not only will a laptop use less energy than that old desktop, but it will also be significantly more portable. You can run your laptop on battery at home, and if you or your loved one is a frequent coffee shop visitor, even better. Just charge it while drinking a cup of coffee. Some great laptops for a wide range of interests (and budgets) include the Lenovo Ideapad 100s, the MacBook Air, the Toshiba Chromebook 2, the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501, and the Dell Inspiron 15 5000.
3. A set-top box
While most people may not ditch the cable subscription just because their new Apple TV or Chromecast puts more content at their fingertips, it could end up saving them money that they’d otherwise spend on purchasing or renting DVDs. Consider the newly-upgraded Apple TV, the second-generation Chromecast, or the Roku 4, which are all great and up-to-date options.
4. A smartphone
Are your parents still using feature phones, and therefore GPS units, alarm clocks, and MP3 players that the smartphone has made obsolete? Then it’s a great idea to buy your mom or dad an affordable smartphone, which will not only open up a whole new world of awesome apps, but will also do away with the necessity of buying (and occasionally replacing) the constellation of other devices that the smartphone can conveniently replace. As you’re probably already aware, your options are endless, from the latest iPhone to a wide array of Android devices, so it’s wise to take into account what the recipient is most likely to find easiest to use.
5. A set of location-tracking tags
For those prone to misplacing things, a set of location-tracking tags, like those from Tile or Duet, can be a lifesaver. They’re a perfect gift for family or friends who repeatedly lose their wallet or keys, and then end up spending money to replace their lost belongings. At the very least, a set of tags will save your friend or family member the time that he or she usually spends looking for a misplaced wallet or a lost set of keys.
6. A smart power strip
We know what you’re thinking: who wants a power strip as a holiday gift? While it’s not exactly an exciting gift for the holidays, this is one that the most practical people on your list are sure to appreciate. A smart power strip, like one from Smart Home USA, will save a significant amount of electricity by automatically detecting when things you have plugged in aren’t being used, and cutting off the power to those dormant devices (while keeping necessary devices like routers on at all times).